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    Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements

    Kumiko Tojo

    Confined: September 1996

    Faith-breaker:  Pastor Tomita

    WRITTEN STATEMENT

    Profile

    I  was born as the second daughter (third child among four) to my father, Kurosawa Isao, and my mother Toki, in Tano g?n, Gunma Prefecture on July 7, 1962.

    In the summer of 1984, a Unification Church (UC) missionary witnessed to me at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. I studied the church’s teachings at Shibuya-ku and Setagaya-ku-sankennchaya. I joined the church in May 1985.

    In October 1988, I attended an international Blessing Ceremony in Korea. I began my family life with my husband, Tojo Tsutomu, in our apartment in Shinjuku-ku-nakaochiai in November 1994.

    Kidnapping and confinement

    I was kidnapped during the autumnal equinox Higan holiday in September 1996. My husband and I went to stay overnight at one of our relatives’ homes for a service commemorating the anniversary of a family member’s death in Wawshizu in the city of Konishi in Shizuoka Prefecture during the consecutive holidays of the autumnal equinox.

    After the memorial service, we went to another relative ’s house in Mikkanichi, in the city of Hamamatsu. My husband and I were kidnapped there, and then we were confined separately.

    Because we were visiting this relative’s house for the first time, we were tense. I don’t remember recognizing any signs of trouble at the time, but my husband felt something was very strange.

    While we were resting after having tea at the relative’s house, the door of a room suddenly opened, and surprisingly, not only my husband’s relatives but my parents and other Kurosawa relatives came out. My husband and I were forced into separate vans and taken to the places where we were to be confined. It was difficult for me because I didn’t have enough power to resist, so I was crying out my husband’s name. But my voice couldn’t reach him; he was taken by van to Kyoto and I was taken to Chiba Prefecture.

    I had to sit in the back seat with my mother sitting next to me telling me how much she worries, but I didn’t have enough power to answer and I was so angry that I couldn’t do anything to help myself, even though I was thinking, “What’s happening to me?” Indeed, I felt it was incredibly shocking.

    (Three months before, I had received a phone call at our apartment in Shinjuku. The caller told me that an anonymous person had called the church house where I used to live before starting our family to say that I had better not go back to my parents’ house. I think someone in the Kurosawa family had contacted a minister opposed to our church and they had a plan to kidnap me.

    (In June, I had gotten a phone call that everyone was meeting for my father’s retirement party. I thought it was too early for him to retire, but my husband and I were planning to attend. On the morning of the day that we were supposed to go to my parents’ house, I called my mother and said, “We can’t come.” My mother sounded terribly flustered. Even at that time, I realized that indeed what had been said about my family was true, though I didn’t want to accept reality.)

    The van stopped at midnight. The confinement place was one room of an apartment. They were careful about preventing me from escaping from the place where I was being held, so I didn’t go close to the front door on purpose. It had more than just the ordinary locks.

    What I can’t forget is that back in June they had already prepared an air conditioner, expecting us to stay there over the summer. The actual kidnapping didn’t happen until autumn, so they talked about preparing a heater, which would be needed. We saw the old year out and they brought an electric kotatsu and a stove. They said they were acting on their own initiative, but after more than a month of captivity, they told me, “A knowledgeable person is coming.”

    Pressure to leave

    The man was  Pastor Tomita, who is an ex-member and a minister of a Christian church. This man had also been kidnapped and confined and left the Unification Church. I heard his wife is also an ex-member. He came several times.

    He gave speeches rejecting the Divine Principle  and the “antisocial” behavior of the founder and his family. Several more ex-members came to try to persuade me. Somebody brought a flute or some instrument and told me, “I have more hobbies now, and I enjoy my life.”

    He seemed to be trying to convince me that if he had stayed in the Unification  Church, he couldn’t do what he wanted. He was happy to leave the church. What they said didn’t inspire me. So I sent them away with the words, “Please enjoy your life.”

    Pastor Tomita scolded me and used abusive language to make me angry because I  usually remained calm. The reason I didn’t become emotional was that I had read 16 or 17 anti-Unification Church books before they had arrived. My family supplied the books.  said, “We are also checking and learning. So you, too, should gain a correct understanding.” I had a lot of time, so I read them from beginning to end. But I didn't change at all. That's why the pastor came.

    Later I learned what had happened. My aunt found an anti-Unification Church book at a bookstore by chance. My sister looked through the book and then contacted the counseling center whose phone number was on the last page. That was the origin of the kidnapping plan.

    Because she was very worried about me and felt it was her responsibility as my sister, she contacted several anti-Unification Church pastors, including Pastor Toshio Shimizu of Gunma, where my hometown is. At that time, I had already had faith in the Unification Church for more than ten years; the pastors thought it would be difficult to convert me, so finally she met Pastor Tomita.

    Since the New Year started, the people who were trying to persuade me to change were no longer coming and neither were my relatives; only my mother and sister were with me in the place where I was being confined.

    I heard that my husband still had to continue listening to the pastor’s speeches. While I was waiting to be contacted by someone from the Tojo family, my family went back to my hometown, which is in Tano g?n, Gunma Prefecture.

    For several months, some people mediated and advised me to try to listen and not to be stubborn. They realized no progress would occur even if I remained confined. They looked as if they had given up. They decided to return home, and Pastor Tomita took me to his church. I didn’t go inside but the church members seemed to panic because I had come.

    At the time, I thought I should try to remember the church, but at the same time, I didn’t want to keep any memory of the whole event; in the more than 10 years since then I have forgotten how to get there but I still remember what it looked like.

    My hometown is in the mountains, without trains or buses; I couldn’t go anywhere alone. It seemed I was being casually confined at home.  

    Released

    Within a month  (of the visit to Pastor Tomit’as church), my in-laws contacted me. My husband, his parents and his uncle visited us. Both sets of parents were not opposed to our being husband and wife. My family worried about how we could support ourselves financially. Both parents agreed on the condition that my husband get a steady job. A week later, I received a report that my husband had found a job, and I could go back to Tokyo. Our confinement ended with negotiations between both families and us. I wonder what the point was of my being confined for six months.

    My father used to work all the time; since he was not at retirement age, he started to work hard again after that.  

    My sister ’s daughter, who was in the first year of elementary school at that time, is a university student now. The time has flown by quickly, but I still sometimes wish it had never happened.

    After that experience, I used to visit my husband ’s family with doubts, as if I might be confined again. I feel angry that even now this kind of experience is still happening somewhere in Japan.

    Fortunately, after that, my husband and I had a child and we are living happily, but I can ’t ignore that there are people in difficult situations physically and spiritually because of kidnapping and confinement.

    It was an unbelievable and annoying half year. I hope our experience can help those people who are suffering more than we are, and I want to accuse the people involved in kidnapping and confinement who ignore human rights.








    Kumiko Tojo

    Confined: September 1996

    Faith-breaker:  Pastor Tomita

    WRITTEN STATEMENT

    Profile

    I  was born as the second daughter (third child among four) to my father, Kurosawa Isao, and my mother Toki, in Tano g?n, Gunma Prefecture on July 7, 1962.

    In the summer of 1984, a Unification Church (UC) missionary witnessed to me at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. I studied the church’s teachings at Shibuya-ku and Setagaya-ku-sankennchaya. I joined the church in May 1985.

    In October 1988, I attended an international Blessing Ceremony in Korea. I began my family life with my husband, Tojo Tsutomu, in our apartment in Shinjuku-ku-nakaochiai in November 1994.

    Kidnapping and confinement

    I was kidnapped during the autumnal equinox Higan holiday in September 1996. My husband and I went to stay overnight at one of our relatives’ homes for a service commemorating the anniversary of a family member’s death in Wawshizu in the city of Konishi in Shizuoka Prefecture during the consecutive holidays of the autumnal equinox.

    After the memorial service, we went to another relative ’s house in Mikkanichi, in the city of Hamamatsu. My husband and I were kidnapped there, and then we were confined separately.

    Because we were visiting this relative’s house for the first time, we were tense. I don’t remember recognizing any signs of trouble at the time, but my husband felt something was very strange.

    While we were resting after having tea at the relative’s house, the door of a room suddenly opened, and surprisingly, not only my husband’s relatives but my parents and other Kurosawa relatives came out. My husband and I were forced into separate vans and taken to the places where we were to be confined. It was difficult for me because I didn’t have enough power to resist, so I was crying out my husband’s name. But my voice couldn’t reach him; he was taken by van to Kyoto and I was taken to Chiba Prefecture.

    I had to sit in the back seat with my mother sitting next to me telling me how much she worries, but I didn’t have enough power to answer and I was so angry that I couldn’t do anything to help myself, even though I was thinking, “What’s happening to me?” Indeed, I felt it was incredibly shocking.

    (Three months before, I had received a phone call at our apartment in Shinjuku. The caller told me that an anonymous person had called the church house where I used to live before starting our family to say that I had better not go back to my parents’ house. I think someone in the Kurosawa family had contacted a minister opposed to our church and they had a plan to kidnap me.

    (In June, I had gotten a phone call that everyone was meeting for my father’s retirement party. I thought it was too early for him to retire, but my husband and I were planning to attend. On the morning of the day that we were supposed to go to my parents’ house, I called my mother and said, “We can’t come.” My mother sounded terribly flustered. Even at that time, I realized that indeed what had been said about my family was true, though I didn’t want to accept reality.)

    The van stopped at midnight. The confinement place was one room of an apartment. They were careful about preventing me from escaping from the place where I was being held, so I didn’t go close to the front door on purpose. It had more than just the ordinary locks.

    What I can’t forget is that back in June they had already prepared an air conditioner, expecting us to stay there over the summer. The actual kidnapping didn’t happen until autumn, so they talked about preparing a heater, which would be needed. We saw the old year out and they brought an electric kotatsu and a stove. They said they were acting on their own initiative, but after more than a month of captivity, they told me, “A knowledgeable person is coming.”

    Pressure to leave

    The man was  Pastor Tomita, who is an ex-member and a minister of a Christian church. This man had also been kidnapped and confined and left the Unification Church. I heard his wife is also an ex-member. He came several times.

    He gave speeches rejecting the Divine Principle  and the “antisocial” behavior of the founder and his family. Several more ex-members came to try to persuade me. Somebody brought a flute or some instrument and told me, “I have more hobbies now, and I enjoy my life.”

    He seemed to be trying to convince me that if he had stayed in the Unification  Church, he couldn’t do what he wanted. He was happy to leave the church. What they said didn’t inspire me. So I sent them away with the words, “Please enjoy your life.”

    Pastor Tomita scolded me and used abusive language to make me angry because I  usually remained calm. The reason I didn’t become emotional was that I had read 16 or 17 anti-Unification Church books before they had arrived. My family supplied the books.  said, “We are also checking and learning. So you, too, should gain a correct understanding.” I had a lot of time, so I read them from beginning to end. But I didn't change at all. That's why the pastor came.

    Later I learned what had happened. My aunt found an anti-Unification Church book at a bookstore by chance. My sister looked through the book and then contacted the counseling center whose phone number was on the last page. That was the origin of the kidnapping plan.

    Because she was very worried about me and felt it was her responsibility as my sister, she contacted several anti-Unification Church pastors, including Pastor Toshio Shimizu of Gunma, where my hometown is. At that time, I had already had faith in the Unification Church for more than ten years; the pastors thought it would be difficult to convert me, so finally she met Pastor Tomita.

    Since the New Year started, the people who were trying to persuade me to change were no longer coming and neither were my relatives; only my mother and sister were with me in the place where I was being confined.

    I heard that my husband still had to continue listening to the pastor’s speeches. While I was waiting to be contacted by someone from the Tojo family, my family went back to my hometown, which is in Tano g?n, Gunma Prefecture.

    For several months, some people mediated and advised me to try to listen and not to be stubborn. They realized no progress would occur even if I remained confined. They looked as if they had given up. They decided to return home, and Pastor Tomita took me to his church. I didn’t go inside but the church members seemed to panic because I had come.

    At the time, I thought I should try to remember the church, but at the same time, I didn’t want to keep any memory of the whole event; in the more than 10 years since then I have forgotten how to get there but I still remember what it looked like.

    My hometown is in the mountains, without trains or buses; I couldn’t go anywhere alone. It seemed I was being casually confined at home.  

    Released

    Within a month  (of the visit to Pastor Tomit’as church), my in-laws contacted me. My husband, his parents and his uncle visited us. Both sets of parents were not opposed to our being husband and wife. My family worried about how we could support ourselves financially. Both parents agreed on the condition that my husband get a steady job. A week later, I received a report that my husband had found a job, and I could go back to Tokyo. Our confinement ended with negotiations between both families and us. I wonder what the point was of my being confined for six months.

    My father used to work all the time; since he was not at retirement age, he started to work hard again after that.  

    My sister ’s daughter, who was in the first year of elementary school at that time, is a university student now. The time has flown by quickly, but I still sometimes wish it had never happened.

    After that experience, I used to visit my husband ’s family with doubts, as if I might be confined again. I feel angry that even now this kind of experience is still happening somewhere in Japan.

    Fortunately, after that, my husband and I had a child and we are living happily, but I can ’t ignore that there are people in difficult situations physically and spiritually because of kidnapping and confinement.

    It was an unbelievable and annoying half year. I hope our experience can help those people who are suffering more than we are, and I want to accuse the people involved in kidnapping and confinement who ignore human rights.